A pragmatic approach to knowledge management : understanding the dynamics of knowledge sharing

Le Roux, Jacous Petrus (2011-12)

Thesis (MScEng)--Stellenbosch University, 2011.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Can one measure the value of knowledge sharing? How does one assess the effectiveness of a knowledge network with regard to supporting knowledge sharing? These are pertinent questions that knowledge managers are faced with, because geographically dispersed organizations rely on knowledge networks to integrate its dispersed knowledge. These questions must be understood in the context of a knowledge management approach, for the approach determines how one navigates the complex landscape of knowledge sharing. This complexity is driven by the social dynamics that exist between organizational members. If the intricacies of these social dynamics can be highlighted, it will assist management in deciding which interventions to implement to increase a knowledge network’s effectiveness. Firstly, a pragmatic approach to knowledge management proposes that management can switch between a bottom-up and top-down view of knowledge sharing in a knowledge network. Secondly, management requires a vehicle to implement the pragmatic approach. The proposed vehicle is the knowledge network framework, for it plays a central role in the design, implementation and maintenance of a knowledge network. Finally, the embeddedness-measuring framework is developed to analyze the social dynamics between knowledge network members and the content they share amongst one another. The implementation of this framework allows for the analysis of interviews that were conducted in a case study at A Chemicals Company (ACC). Five communities of ACC’s knowledge network are investigated and the results emphasize the dynamics of knowledge sharing between network members. The implications of the results are as follows: • A navigation system is proposed that enables the implementation of the pragmatic approach. • A schedule for the evaluation of a knowledge network enables management to assess the effects of interventions.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Kan die waarde van die proses om kennis te deel, gemeet word? Hoe word ‘n kennis-netwerk se doeltreffendheid gemeet met betrekking tot die ondersteuning wat dit bied vir netwerk-lede om hul kennis te deel? Dit is die tipe vrae wat kennis-bestuurders mee gekonfronteer word, want organisasies wat geografies versprei is maak staat op kennis-netwerke om verspreide kennis te integreer. Om hierdie vrae te verstaan, moet dit gesien word in die konteks van 'n kennisbestuur-strategie. Die kennisbestuur-strategie bepaal hoe ‘n mens die kompleksiteit van kennis-skepping en -uitruiling benader. ‘n Groot faktor wat dié kompleksiteit beïnvloed, is die sosiale dinamika tussen netwerk-lede. Daar word dus geredeneer, dat as sin gemaak kan word van dié dinamika, bestuur se vermoë om in te gryp in die kennis-netwerk verbeter sal word. Gevolglik kan die doeltreffendheid van ‘n kennis-netwerk verbeter word. Eerstens word die pragmatiese benadering tot kennisbestuur voorgestel. Dié strategie gee bestuur die vermoë om te wissel tussen ‘n top-down benadering en ‘n bottom-up benadering tot kennisbestuur. Tweedens word die kennis-netwerk raamwerk bespreek. Hierdie raamwerk beskryf die ontwerp, implimentering en instandhouding van ‘n kennis-netwerk. Dit bied bestuur die vermoë om die pragmatiese benadering te volg. Ten slotte word die geïntegreerde metings raamwerk ontwikkel. Hierdie raamwerk stel mens instaat om ‘n analise te doen van die sosiale dinamika tussen netwerk-lede en die inhoud wat hulle met mekaar deel. Die geïntegreerde metings raamwerk word gebruik om onderhoude te analiseer van die lede van ‘n kennis-netwerk gevallestudie. Hierdie gevallestudie is gesentreer rondom die bedryf A Chemical Company (ACC) se kennisnetwerk. Vyf kennis-uitruil gemeenskappe van ACC se kennis-netwerk word ondersoek. Die resultate beklemtoon die dinamika tussen netwerk-lede in die proses om kennis uit te ruil. Die gevolgtrekking van die navorsing is soos volg: • ‘n Strategie word ontwikkel wat die implimentering van die pragmatiese benadering tot kennis-bestuur beskryf. • ‘n Skedule vir die evaluering van ‘n kennis-netwerk word voorgestel wat bestuur die vermoë bied om die gevolge van veranderinge in ‘n kennisnetwerk te assesseer.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/18047
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